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The Prettiest LA Restaurants in 2019

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From trimmed-back stunner Auburn to the lushness of V DTLA

A rustic lounging space in a new restaurant with modern appeal.
Auburn
Wonho Frank Lee

Los Angeles has no shortage of gorgeous restaurants to fawn over. The city is filled with natural light and rustic touches, with brass accents and big, plush seats and house plants — always house plants — in spaces from Santa Monica to Silver Lake to Downtown. This year, LA saw an influx of mostly maximalist spaces with an almost lounge-y vibe and lots of jewel-toned furniture, including one in particular that is eager to not only change the way that restaurants look, but how they smell and sound in order to maximize profit. Here are 10 of the prettiest restaurants to open in 2019.


American Beauty

A rounded bar looks out over dark green walls and a glowing back bar.
American Beauty
Wonho Frank Lee

The folks at Folklor designed the 3,000-square-foot American Beauty for maximum dinnertime appeal, from the horseshoe bar to the vintage wooden booths and dark green detailing. The original Venice Ranch Market facade remains, but inside the back bar glows gold while the vintage stained glass artwork shimmers.

Angler

Fish tanks and tables at Angler in Los Angeles.
Angler
Wonho Frank Lee

Angler at the Beverly Center shines with dinnertime opulence, from the glimmering fish tanks holding the evening’s living menu to the open fire kitchen area, throw blankets over the dark wooden chairs, and the cozy back bar area.

Auburn

Sun streams in on Auburn’s wood as a bar cart stands at the ready.
A table set for service in a modern, pared-down wood-lined dining restaurant.

The main dining room at chef Eric Bost’s 105-seat Neo-Nordic-looking restaurant is ringed in light touches of green and buoyed by the low hum of Melrose traffic, while just-rough-enough off-white tablecloths cling to the sturdy white oak tables via a collection of hidden magnets beneath the tabletop.

Bar Flores

Close up of bar in Echo Park with wood chairs and dim lighting.
Bar Flores
Wonho Frank Lee

Situated upstairs with a wonderful view of Sunset Boulevard, plus a bonus hideaway patio in the back, Bar Flores is among the most charming new cocktail entrants to Los Angeles. The Echo Park space feels almost like a throwback bungalow from the days of living in the leafy hidden hillside communities of Los Angeles.

Five Leaves

Small round tables and Art Deco glass show sunlight in a new restaurant space.
Five Leaves
Wonho Frank Lee

Inside, Five Leaves is a reveal of bright green houseplants and muted sunset tones, spread across plush banquettes and booths, with lots of marble and copper-toned fixtures to finish things off. The spread-out space spans some 89 seats inside, and the restaurant will also be debuting a patio closer to the summer.

Formosa Cafe

The bar inside formosa cafe, glowing in red lights.
Formosa
Wonho Frank Lee

Inside, Formosa Cafe is back to its roots. The terrazzo floors and deep red booths remain, as does the trolley car stuck right inside, which dates to 1904. In the back is the Yee Mee Loo bar, a secondary space with a vintage bar the group rescued from a different historic restaurant down in Chinatown. The walls are once again lined with headshots from days gone by, along with period-specific newspaper clippings, old art, carvings, and more.

Kensho

A muted Japanese inspired cafe with stone details.
Kensho
Wonho Frank Lee

Kensho is a postage stamp of a minimalist space, meant almost as a momentary mellow retreat from the city below instead of a more complete sit-down restaurant with table service. The pared-down restaurant is mostly an interaction between form and space, with light blonde wood bench and stool seating both inside and out.

Nightshade

Nightshade a restaurant in the Arts District with gold tones from chef Mei Lin.
Nightshade
Wonho Frank Lee

The 60-seat dining room of Nightshade carries a warmth and charm that belies the brick industrial building in which it resides, tucked away from the street and down a short alley. The open kitchen gives way to walk-in bar seats and a cohesive dining room filled with gold tones and lots of plant life.

Red Herring

Dark green and peach toned seating inside Red Herring
Red Herring
Wonho Frank Lee

The jewel box-toned Red Herring offers banquette seating, plush peach-colored chairs and emerald walls, all set alongside the requisite house plants, brass accents, and a splashy mural done by artist Mike Willcox.

V DTLA

A bright green wraparound bar layered with greenery on top and gold touches.
V DTLA
Wonho Frank Lee

At first plush, V DTLA’s perfectly-hued room feels like loads of other restaurants around the city, from the pastel pinks and greens to the lightly tufted furniture to the marble bar with its warm underlighting and brass accents. The bartenders themselves hide away under house plants, and the music thrums for corner to corner, just like at, say, Bavel or Nightshade in the Arts District. It’s all by design, too, as the operators pipe in smells and sounds meant to entice diners to linger longer, and to spend more money.

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